The portable electronic in-box I've been waiting for

Today, I got a glimpse of the portable electronic in-box I've been waiting for.

Adobe announced today it plans to buy Macromedia, and that's a terrifically smart move. The two companies have essentially wrapped up the documents and video markets for PCs and laptops, and now, as one company, is positioned to do the same thing for PDAs, smartphones and other portable devices.

I'm convinced most business travelers would toss their laptops out an airplane window if given the chance. What most people do when they travel, aside from play solitaire, is read. If all you need to do is check your e-mail and calendar, would you tote around a device designed for typing when you could use something more portable and less expensive? I own one of the lightest laptops made, and it's still too heavy for the sorts of things I do most often when I'm on the road. I don't write much, except to answer e-mails, and even then, using my cell phone is a lot faster.

Offer me a wireless (broadband speed) portable with a screen maybe 8 inches corner-to-corner, build into ROM some essential apps, toss in a couple of flash drives for storage and backup, and I'll be good to go. Eventually, handwriting and voice recognition will no longer be gimmicks and actually useful, and then I'll have the perfect portable electronic in box.

I'll be able to read and edit PDFs on my PEIB, whether I'm running Linux, Symbian or some other OS (I'd be surprised if it turns out to be mobile Windows). Today, Adobe/Macromedia took a big step toward making it easier for people like me to view docs as PDFs, rich media, video, multimedia messaging service and more. That's really all that most of us want to do when we're on the road. That, and play a few really good games.

About the Author

Michael Alexander is editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends.